Turkey: after Erdoğan’s victory, the immense challenge of putting the country back on its feet

Caroline Baudry // Photo credit: Yasin AKGUL / AFP

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won the Turkish presidential election on Sunday and becomes the country’s longest-serving president. But Turkey’s strongman will have to quickly get back to work to fight inflation and rebuild the area devastated by the earthquake earlier this year.

Almost five more years for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The current Turkish president has just been reappointed at the head of Turkey. The latter obtained more than 52% of the votes during the second round of the presidential election. But for the one who has been in power for 20 years, the day after the election seems mixed, like the Turkish press. “An easy and bloody Pyrrhic victory”, title BirGün, an opposition newspaper. Another competitor writes in bold letters that the loser has won: “A commander let go by his army”, notes the correspondent of Europe 1 in Turkey.

Disappointed voters

It must be said that Erdoğan was indeed tossed about in the first round for the first time in Turkish political history. Some voters are dejected the day after the election, those who finally dreamed of alternation. The president now has a record of longevity in power by surpassing Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey adored by the opposition. “The symbol is strong” judges a voter. For its part, a pro-government newspaper plays appeasement: “Today, no one has lost. The 85 million Turks have won. Let’s leave the electoral disputes behind us and think about our national future.”

Because Turkey is going through serious crises: first inflation. An emergency for the breathless Turks. Here, buying food is an ordeal for many. The pound lost half its value and foreign exchange reserves went into the red for the first time since 2002.

Rebuilding earthquake-destroyed southern Turkey

“I applaud the winner, whoever he is. Because above all, Turkey must get out of this critical situation. The central bank’s money was squandered by Erdoğan before the elections. It is now in deficit 2 billion euros”, worries a 70-year-old baker at the microphone of Europe 1.

It will however be necessary to find 100 billion dollars to rebuild the cities destroyed by the earthquakes, the second priority of the country. Finally, on the international level, Turkey should return to the negotiating table to bring Sweden into NATO. Erdoğan is blocking the process to stand up to the West.

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